Sigma Lambda Upsilon
The crest of Sigma Lambda Upsilon.png
FoundedDecember 1, 1987; 35 years ago (1987-12-01)
Binghamton University
Vestal, NY
TypeSocial and Cultural Interest
Mission statement
Only Sigma Lambda Upsilon/Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Inc. can authentically provide an everlasting sisterhood and an empowering sense of pride to our diverse members by intentionally contributing tools to distinguish ourselves.
MottoHasta La Muerte
(Until Death)
Colors  Gold
Sororal Symbol
Sororal Symbol
FlowerRed Pansy with Black and Gold
JewelBlack Pearl
PublicationThe Spirit of Ella
Chapters46 undergraduate chapters
18 graduate-professional chapters
NicknameSeñoritas Latinas Unidas, SLU, Sigma Lambdas, Señoritas
MascotBlack Persian Cat with Gold Eyes
HeadquartersGrand Central Station
P.O. Box 3842

New York, NY
WebsiteNational website

Sigma Lambda Upsilon (ΣΛΥ) or Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Inc. is a Latina-based sorority founded on December 1, 1987 at Binghamton University.[1][2] The organization was created to promote academic achievement and serve the Latino community and the campuses that Sigma Lambda Upsilon serves. The sorority is now present in over 65 campuses. Though Latina-based, Sigma Lambda Upsilon Sorority, Inc. is a non-discriminatory organization. The sorority is a member of the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO) and is its fourth oldest sororal member by founding date.[3]



The sorority (like other Greek members within the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations) was founded during the post-1975 phase of the Latino Greek Movement which followed the "principio" (principle) stage initially kickstarted in 1898 by student activism on college campuses.[4] The "fuerza" (force) wave of Greek-lettered Latino organizations in the 1980s would then begin as the result of many Latino students feeling they had to create a more favorable system of American higher education for Latino population witin the country.[5] This would be a much talked about issue during the time for social justice activists within the community as a result of the stagnant growth of Latino student enrollment during the 1980s through the early 1990s.[6]


The initial steps for the creation of Sigma Lambda Upsilon, Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Incorporated were taken in 1986 at Binghamton University. In this period of time, fellow NALFO Latino fraternal organization La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda, Fraternity, Incorporated was considering being co-ed as the founding line of its Beta chapter included two women by the names of Carol Lasso and Vanina Gonzalez.[7] Eventually, however, the decision was made amongst its members to keep Lambda Upsilon Lambda from that moment on, exclusive, to those who identified as male. The result of this decision would lead to the fraternity's Beta chapter coming up with its two female members, the concept of a sorority on-campus that would be able to unite the community's Latina women. Shortly afterward in December 1987, the founding line of the organization would be formed, with four women: Cynthia Santiago, Adriana Zamora, Carmen Ibeth Garcia-Quiñones, and Carol Elizabeth Torres, creating the Alpha chapter of Sigma Lambda Upsilon at the university, forming the first Latina-interest sorority on campus with their titles of "founding mothers".[8] Despite the support that Lambda Upsilon Lambda gave towards the founding of Sigma Lambda Upsilon, the two organizations are not constitutionally bound to one another.

The founding mothers, like many other founding lines for Latina Greek-lettered organizations during "fuerza" era, modeled their probate ceremony after that of Greek-lettered organizations in the National Pan-Hellenic Council like Alpha Kappa Alpha.[9][10]

20th century and NALFO

Throughout the 1990s, during the fragmentation phase of the Latino Greek Movement (which saw the creation and major expansion of many Latina Greek organizations), the sorority was chartered across 30 campuses in various states and established alumni associations in major cities such as Washington, D.C.[11][12] In 1992, the sorority briefly considered expanding into Texas at the Texas Woman's University after being contacted by an undergraduate student in the summer of that year who was inspired by the sorority's philanthropic work at the University of Pennsylvania. Ultimately, the sorority decided against establishing a chapter at the university which would lead the student, Angeles Gonzalez, along with six other women, to establish the Alpha chapter of Sigma Lambda Alpha/Señoritas Latinas en Acción Sorority, Incorporated.[13] Sigma Lambda Upsilon would later go onto charter the Theta Delta graduate chapter in the state.

It also joined the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations in 1998 and became one of two East Coast sororities, along with Omega Phi Beta, to join the majority West Coast and Mid-West conference instead of the majority East Coast ConcÌlio Nacional de Hermandades Latinas that year.[14]

21st century and lawsuit against the University of Virginia

In early 2019, the sorority was the figurehead of a notable debate highlighting what constitutes hazing and the challenges that colleges and universities face in enforcing anti-hazing policies.[15] The Alpha Rho chapter of Sigma Lambda Upsilon at the University of Virginia was accused of violating the university's anti-hazing policy by requiring its members to complete mandatory study hours of at least 25 hours per week.[16] This was met with the sorority's national organization filing a lawsuit against UVA, in which they argued that the mandatory study hours were not hazing and that the university's definition of hazing was too broad.[17] The lawsuit also accused UVA of discrimination against the sorority because of its focus on serving the Latina community. Critics of UVA's decision to classify mandatory study hours as hazing included several writers and media outlets. The National Review published an article arguing that the lawsuit against Sigma Lambda Upsilon was a sign of the "hazing hysteria" that has taken hold on college campuses.[18] The Washington Post and NBC News also reported on the controversy, highlighting the debate over what constitutes hazing and the controversy over UVA's decision to classify mandatory study hours as hazing.[19][20] Kerry Dougherty, a local columnist in Virginia, also weighed in on the controversy, arguing that UVA was "making a mockery" of the anti-hazing policy by equating mandatory study hours with hazing.[21]

In response to the lawsuit filed by Sigma Lambda Upsilon's national organization, UVA defended its anti-hazing policies and argued that the university's definition of hazing was consistent with that used by other colleges and universities.[22] UVA also emphasized its commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion on campus, but argued that this commitment did not excuse violations of the university's policies. The case was ultimately settled out of court in 2019, with Sigma Lambda Upsilon agreeing to implement new anti-hazing policies and UVA agreeing to review its policies and procedures related to hazing.

In 2020, the sorority's chapter at Duke University notably managed to reach an endowment goal of $100,000 within two years despite having just initiated 77 members since its founding as the first Latina-based sorority on the campus.[23]


Sigma Lambda Upsilon's membership is predominantly Latina and Hispanic American in composition. Members of the sorority are predominately from the United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Members refer to each other as Hermanas (translated as sister in the Spanish language). Additionally, they also refer to themselves as Señoritas (translated as ladies in Spanish) or Sigma Lambdas. Those undergoing the new membership education process are referred to as Damas (translated as ladies in Spanish).[24]

The sorority offers three ways to obtain membership: through an undergraduate chapter, through an alumni professional chapter, or receiving honorary status. Undergraduate and alumni professional chapters have separate academic requirements and prerequisites for membership. Honorary membership is decided by the organization's national governing body.[25]


The mission of Sigma Lambda Upsilon/Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Inc. is to showcase that only the sorority can authentically provide an everlasting sisterhood and an empowering sense of pride to its diverse members by intentionally contributing tools to distinguish themselves. The sorority specifically seeks to meet this mission through its goals of fostering:[26]

The ideals of the sorority are sincerity, loyalty, and unity.


Historically since 2000, the organization's philanthropy has been the promotion of literacy in accordance with the standards set by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The sorority works with children and youth as its primary target population to aid in literacy in education and career success. The premise of their philanthropic work focuses on the power of literacy to uplift their communities and foster confidence in their young people, for them to advance toward their educational, personal, and professional goals.[27]

Mentoring programs

Sigma Lambda Upsilon's national mentoring initiatives are the Leadership, Advancement, and Development of our Young Sisters (LADYS) and Promoting Education, the Arts, our Roots, Leadership and Service (PEARLS) programs.[28]

National performance team

The sorority has a national performance team called Blacklisted.[29] It participates in various traditional step and stroll shows and helps promote development opportunities for members to live a more active lifestyle through the fitness and wellness initiative "Fit for a Señorita".[30]

Dates of celebration


The sorority uses Pre-Columbian imagery in its iconography.[34]


States with Chapters of Sigma Lambda Upsilon/Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Incorporated.
States with Chapters of Sigma Lambda Upsilon/Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Incorporated.

Undergraduate chapters

Sigma Lambda Upsilon/Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Inc. has installed 46 chapters at over 60 Colleges and Universities, including:[1]

Graduate chapters

Graduate chapters, open to alumnae as well as alumnae initiates, include:[1]


  1. ^ a b c William Raimond Baird; Carroll Lurding (eds.). "Almanac of Fraternities and Sororities (Baird's Manual Online Archive)". Student Life and Culture Archives. University of Illinois: University of Illinois Archives. Retrieved 5 Jul 2021. The main archive URL is The Baird's Manual Online Archive homepage.
  2. ^ "Plattsburgh goes green for April with SUNY students".
  3. ^ "Box". Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  4. ^ Oliver Fajardo. "History of Latino Fraternal Movement and Why it Matters on Campus Today" (PDF). Retrieved October 26, 2022.
  5. ^ Moreno, Diana; Banuelos, Sheila (2013). "The Influence of Latina/o Greek Sorority and Fraternity Involvement on Latina/o College Student Transition and Success". Journal of Latino/Latin American Studies. 5 (2): 113–125. doi:10.18085/llas.5.2.y1113g2572x13061. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  6. ^ "More Blacks Go to College; Rate for Latinos Falls : Education: Total of minorities on campus grows, but the gap with whites closes only slightly, a study will show today". Los Angeles Times. 20 January 1992. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  7. ^ "History - Bold Beta - la Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc". Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  8. ^ "History". Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  9. ^ "Latinx Resource Handbook 2018-19 14th Edition by University of Southern California - Issuu". Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  10. ^ Black Greek 101: The Culture, Customs, and Challenges of Black Fraternities and Sororities. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. 2003. ISBN 9780838639771. Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  11. ^ "Sigma Lambda Upsilon". Reflections. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  12. ^ Cliff, Ellie; above, '22 For the Bibliography see link; Bibliography", "The Latina Experience. "The Latina Experience at Dartmouth · Dartmouth Course Exhibits". course-exhibits.library.dartmouth.eduaccess-date=2023-05-07.
  13. ^ "History | Sigma Lambda Alpha Sorority, Inc". July 24, 2016. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  14. ^ "Member Organizations – National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations". Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  15. ^ "UVA lawsuit raises question of what counts as hazing". Higher Ed Dive. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  16. ^ "Sorority charged with 'hazing' for requiring members to study 25 hours per week". The College Fix. January 6, 2019. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  17. ^ "Sigma Lambda Upsilon v. Rector of Univ. of Va., 503 F. Supp. 3d 433 | Casetext Search + Citator". Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  18. ^ "Lawsuit: Sorority Guilty of 'Hazing' for Requiring Members to Study 25 Hours per Week". January 8, 2019. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  19. ^ "What Constitutes Hazing". The Washington Post. February 2, 2019. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  20. ^ "UVA tells Latina sorority studying 25 hours a week is hazing, lawsuit says". NBC News.
  21. ^ "Hazing Schmazing". Kerry Dougherty. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  22. ^ "Sorority suit: UVa said studying 25 hours a week is hazing". Associated Press. January 4, 2019. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  23. ^ "Sigma Lambda Upsilon Raises $100,000 to Endow OTHC Scholarship - Office of Multicultural Advancement – Syracuse University". Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  24. ^ "SLU Information Packet" (PDF). Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  25. ^ "SLU Constitution". Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  26. ^ "SLU Mission". Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  27. ^ "Latinx Sororities and Fraternities You Should Keep on Your Radar". 23 August 2021. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  28. ^ "Sigma Lambda Upsilon". Retrieved 2017-02-02.
  29. ^ "HOME". blacklisted.
  30. ^ Foley, Michael. "The National Performance Team". Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  31. ^ "SLU: Being a Boricua by Amber B". October 11, 2016. Retrieved 2023-05-07.
  32. ^ "Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month | Diversity and Inclusion". Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  33. ^ "Founders' Day: SLU's 28th Anniversary". December 1, 2015. Retrieved 2022-06-28.
  34. ^ "Ancient Colombian goldmaking – Smarthistory".
  35. ^ "SLU Welcomes Newest Chapter - Alpha Rho chapter at University of Virginia". Archived from the original on 2013-08-17. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
  36. ^ "Multicultural Greek Council". Retrieved 2017-02-02.